From the horse's mouth

Do you do any "beginning of the year" planning and if so, what?

Bob Dykes – I have a core set of marketing campaigns that I have decided on in advance to implement for the coming year—i.e. door hangers, hotel/motels, cross-promo's, etc.—that are geared towards the unique subs and pizzas I have. Ever had an elk, caribou, reindeer, buffalo or yak pizza or sub? I also have a wish list of additional/ alternative plans that I would like to implement if possible (i.e. schools, businesses, catering, etc.). It doesn't always work out because of adjustments needed in the core set of marketing plans. As the only sub and pizza shop located in an 1890's log cabin inside Alaska's only Heritage Theme Park, there are unique opportunities that can be capitalized on. Living and working in 20 to 40 degrees below zero in the winter provides unique challenges.

Joe Pecora – The beginning of the year is going to coincide with our 6th month of business. We feel that we are finally at a point where our operation is "dialed-in," and are comfortable enough to begin heavier marketing. Most of our planning for the beginning of the year is focused on obtaining new customers. We have developed a fairly complex database system that allows us to pinpoint market to new customers. We are planning on utilizing this system much more after the first of the year.

David Walker – As far as planning for next year goes, we currently have a calendar in the works. It’s a one year calendar and at the bottom of the page will be a coupon booklet with one coupon that’s redeemable for each month. Therefore, we can keep the name of our restaurant in the minds of our patrons and we can be prepared for our monthly specials and save money on mailings and such. As far as the new year goes, come May, we’re breaking ground to build a beer garden. It’ll be an outside patio—we’ll actually be growing hops and barley as decorations—with an outside bar. We carry 12 microbrews on tap. We’ll also be building an open pit barbeque pit to offer barbeque

How much time do you spend in the shop per week?

What do you do while there?

Bob Dykes – Our winter hours are 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. I am in the shop daily from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Our summer hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and I am in the shop daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. We are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I do whatever has to be done that employees can't get to, everything from cleaning to cooking to deliveries in addition to my regular duties of managing. I have always felt that employees need to see the owner working harder and more than them so that you can lead and motivate by example. And besides, this way I don't have to pay to go to the gym.

Joe Pecora – Each of us spends about 40-50 hours per week at the shop. We were fortunate to find a great manager that covers our days plus Tuesday night and Sundays.  Most of my time there is spent doing back- office work. A lot of my dad's time is spent prepping family recipes. When it's busy, we are both there and work side-by-side with our employees on the make line or in the dining room, talking to our customers.

David Walker – My wife and I spend on average about 70 hours a week in the shop apiece. We’re going into our second year so we have to spend that much time here. What I do while I’m in the store is primarily PR… PR, PR, PR. My secondary, but not more important responsibilities are management. I act as the general manager so I do everything that goes along with that; All the drama, etc. My wife, Shawna, is the goddess of the kitchen. She cooks and does all of our purchasing, bills and bookkeeping.  

As the owner, how do you pay yourself?

Salary? As needed? Whatever is left over?

Bob Dykes – I pay myself a salary. Profits are earmarked for expansion. Plans are on the books to have six units in Alaska within the next five years.

Joe Pecora – Being as new as we are, we are not really paying ourselves yet. We have been extremely fortunate to be at just about break-even during our first four months, but we paid off a lot of start up costs out of operating. I suppose this a way of "paying ourselves," since that start-up money was budgeted to come out of our pockets. We opened knowing that we wouldn't be able to take a salary for a while.

David Walker – We pay ourselves monetarily, as needed. We knew that the first year we’d be using our life savings and we’ve used a good portion of it to keep ourselves afloat at home. We’ve invest between 75 and 80 percent of what we make back into the restaurant and into the community.